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The way to happiness is closed to those who do not restrain themselves from committing harmful acts. Learn to use all 21 precepts in your daily life. It points the way to a better, happier and more fulfilling life for you and those around you. There are The Way to Happiness chapters all over the world.

To join a local chapter or start your own, contact us. The Way to Happiness Foundation is a purely secular charitable organization, coordinated by the Association for Better Living and Education ABLE , an organization dedicated to resolving the major societal ills of drugs, crime, illiteracy and immorality. The 21 Precepts Next. Mission Statement L. Ron Hubbard F.

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Take Care of Yourself 2. Be Temperate 3. Don't Be Promiscuous 4. Love and Help Children 5. Honor and Help Your Parents 6.

19. TRY NOT TO DO THINGS TO OTHERS THAT YOU WOULD NOT LIKE THEM TO DO TO YOU.

Set A Good Example 7. Do Not Murder 9. Don't Do Anything Illegal Safeguard And Improve Your Environment Do Not Steal Be Worthy of Trust Fulfill Your Obligations. Be Industrious Be Competent Respect The Religious Beliefs of Others Flourish And Prosper Epilogue. Take Care of Yourself. Be Temperate. Don't Be Promiscuous. Love and Help Children. Honor and Help Your Parents. Set A Good Example. As evidence, she points to our divergent views of ourselves and others. We have no trouble recognizing how prejudiced or unfair our office colleague acts toward another person.

But we do not consider that we could behave in much the same way: because we intend to be morally good, it never occurs to us that we, too, might be prejudiced. Pronin assessed her thesis in a number of experiments.

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Among other things, she had her study participants complete a test involving matching faces with personal statements that would supposedly assess their social intelligence. Afterward, some of them were told that they had failed and were asked to name weaknesses in the testing procedure. Although the opinions of the subjects were almost certainly biased not only had they supposedly failed the test, they were also being asked to critique it , most of the participants said their evaluations were completely objective. It was much the same in judging works of art, although subjects who used a biased strategy for assessing the quality of paintings nonetheless believed that their own judgment was balanced.

Pronin argues that we are primed to mask our own biases.

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Could it be that we are not really looking into ourselves, as the Latin root of the word suggests, but producing a flattering self-image that denies the failings that we all have? The research on self-knowledge has yielded much evidence for this conclusion. Although we think we are observing ourselves clearly, our self-image is affected by processes that remain unconscious. How well do people know themselves? Investigators use a variety of techniques to tackle such questions. They may ask other people, such as relatives or friends, to assess subjects as well. And they probe unconscious inclinations using special methods.

To measure unconscious inclinations, psychologists can apply a method known as the implicit association test IAT , developed in the s by Anthony Greenwald of the University of Washington and his colleagues, to uncover hidden attitudes. Since then, numerous variants have been devised to examine anxiety, impulsiveness and sociability, among other features. The approach assumes that instantaneous reactions require no reflection; as a result, unconscious parts of the personality come to the fore. Notably, experimenters seek to determine how closely words that are relevant to a person are linked to certain concepts.

They were also asked to press the same key as soon as they saw a word on the screen that related to themselves such as their own name. Of course, the words and key combinations were switched over the course of many test runs. The image that people convey in surveys has little to do with their lightning-fast reactions to emotionally laden words. On the other hand, questionnaires yield better information about such traits as conscientiousness or openness to new experiences.

Conscientiousness and curiosity, on the other hand, require a certain degree of thought and can therefore be assessed more easily through self-reflection. Much research indicates that our nearest and dearest often see us better than we see ourselves. Our assessments of ourselves most closely match assessments by others when it comes to more neutral characteristics. The characteristics generally most readable by others are those that strongly affect our behavior.

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We are frequently blind to the effect we have on others because we simply do not see our own facial expressions, gestures and body language. I am hardly aware that my blinking eyes indicate stress or that the slump in my posture betrays how heavily something weighs on me. Because it is so difficult to observe ourselves, we must rely on the observations of others, especially those who know us well. It is hard to know who we are unless others let us know how we affect them. Keeping a diary, pausing for self-reflection and having probing conversations with others have a long tradition, but whether these methods enable us to know ourselves is hard to tell.

In fact, sometimes doing the opposite—such as letting go—is more helpful because it provides some distance. It helps, she noted, by overcoming two big hurdles: distorted thinking and ego protection. The practice of mindfulness teaches us to allow our thoughts to simply drift by and to identify with them as little as possible. Frequently, stepping out of oneself in this way and simply observing what the mind does fosters clarity.

Gaining insight into our unconscious motives can enhance emotional well-being. Oliver C. For example, we should not slave away at a career that gives us money and power if these goals are of little importance to us. But how do we achieve such harmony? By imagining, for example. Try to imagine, as vividly and in as much detail as possible, how things would be if your most fervent wish came true.

Would it really make you happier? Often we succumb to the temptation to aim excessively high without taking into account all of the steps and effort necessary to achieve ambitious goals. Are you familiar with the Dunning Kruger effect? It holds that the more incompetent people are, the less they are aware of their incompetence.

Dunning and Kruger gave their test subjects a series of cognitive tasks and asked them to estimate how well they did. At best, 25 percent of the participants viewed their performance more or less realistically; only some people underestimated themselves. The quarter of subjects who scored worst on the tests really missed the mark, wildly exaggerating their cognitive abilities. Is it possible that boasting and failing are two sides of the same coin?

As the researchers emphasize, their work highlights a general feature of self-perception: each of us tends to overlook our cognitive deficiencies. According to psychologist Adrian Furnham of University College London, the statistical correlation between perceived and actual IQ is, on average, only 0. By comparison, the correlation between height and sex is about 0. So why is the chasm between would-be and actual performance so gaping?

It surely would spare us a great deal of wasted effort and perhaps a few embarrassments. The answer, it seems, is that a moderate inflation of self-esteem has certain benefits. According to a review by psychologists Shelley Taylor of the University of California, Los Angeles, and Jonathon Brown of the University of Washington, rose-colored glasses tend to increase our sense of well-being and our performance. People afflicted by depression, on the other hand, are inclined to be brutally realistic in their self-assessments.

An embellished self-image seems to help us weather the ups and downs of daily life.

People who tear themselves down experience setbacks more frequently. Although most of our contemporaries harbor excessively positive views of their honesty or intelligence, some people suffer from the opposite distortion: they belittle themselves and their efforts. Experiencing contempt and belittlement in childhood, often associated with violence and abuse, can trigger this kind of negativity—which, in turn, can limit what people can accomplish, leading to distrust, despair and even suicidal thoughts.

It might seem logical to think that people with a negative self-image would be just the ones who would want to overcompensate. Yet as psychologists working with William Swann of the University of Texas at Austin discovered, many individuals racked with self-doubt seek confirmation of their distorted self-perception. Swann described this phenomenon in a study on contentment in marriage. He asked couples about their own strengths and weaknesses, the ways they felt supported and valued by their partner, and how content they were in the marriage. As expected, those who had a more positive attitude toward themselves found greater satisfaction in their relationship the more they received praise and recognition from their other half.

But those who habitually picked at themselves felt safer in their marriage when their partner reflected their negative image back to them.

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They did not ask for respect or appreciation. Swann based his theory of self-verification on these findings. The theory holds that we want others to see us the way we see ourselves. In some cases, people actually provoke others to respond negatively to them so as to prove how worthless they are. This behavior is not necessarily masochism. It is symptomatic of the desire for coherence: if others respond to us in a way that confirms our self-image, then the world is as it should be.

Likewise, people who consider themselves failures will go out of their way not to succeed, contributing actively to their own undoing. They will miss meetings, habitually neglect doing assigned work and get into hot water with the boss. But both camps are probably right: hyperinflated egos are certainly common, but negative self-images are not uncommon. According to one influential theory, our tendency for self-deception stems from our desire to impress others. To appear convincing, we ourselves must be convinced of our capabilities and truthfulness.

Supporting this theory is the observation that successful manipulators are often quite full of themselves. Good salespeople, for example, exude an enthusiasm that is contagious; conversely, those who doubt themselves generally are not good at sweet talking. Lab research is supportive as well. In one study, participants were offered money if, in an interview, they could convincingly claim to have aced an IQ test.

The more effort the candidates put into their performance, the more they themselves came to believe that they had a high IQ, even though their actual scores were more or less average. Our self-deceptions have been shown to be quite changeable. Often we adapt them flexibly to new situations. This adaptability was demonstrated by Steven A. Sloman of Brown University and his colleagues. Their subjects were asked to move a cursor to a dot on a computer screen as quickly as possible.


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If the participants were told that above-average skill in this task reflected high intelligence, they immediately concentrated on the task and did better. They did not actually seem to think that they had exerted more effort—which the researchers interpret as evidence of a successful self-deception. On the other hand, if the test subjects were convinced that only dimwits performed well on such stupid tasks, their performance tanked precipitously. But is self-deception even possible? Can we know something about ourselves on some level without being conscious of it?

The experimental evidence involves the following research design: Subjects are played audiotapes of human voices, including their own, and are asked to signal whether they hear themselves.